Lifespan of A Metal Roof vs Asphalt Shingle Roof

Lifespan of A Metal Roof vs Asphalt Shingle Roof

No one really enjoys the idea of replacing their roof, but it must be done anyway, right? But what if you could replace the roof just one more time? What type of roof could actually be considered a “lifetime” roof? Is that idea true or just marketing hype? A lifetime roof is actually a reality—but which material will do it? Let’s look at the lifespan of a metal roof vs an asphalt shingle roof.

Lifespan Of An Asphalt Shingle Roof

Your home may already have an asphalt shingle roof. In fact, across the United States, more than 70% of homes use this type of roof. That figure is about the same in Florida, as well. You’ll find that a few top brands dominate the market, including:

  • GAF
  • CertainTeed
  • Owens Corning
  • IKO

GAF is the largest roofing manufacturer in North America and offers many different products, including asphalt shingles. Our company is a GAF Master Elite installer, meaning we’re qualified to participate in their “upgrade” programs like the lifetime roofing warranty programs. So let’s take a look at their warranty page.

In order to get GAF’s best warranty, you have to buy several components for your roof that all work together, and you have to use a certified installer for your roof installation. Those required components include starter strip shingles, ridge cap shingles, and leak barrier products. The idea is that the whole system will work together over the years to resist the elements and will endure better together than as a hodgepodge of components.

What Does “Lifetime” Mean?

It’s important to understand GAF’s definition of the term “lifetime: In this context it means “as long as you, the original owner(s) [or the second owner(s) if coverage was properly transferred during the Smart Choice Protection Period], own the property where the shingles and/or accessories are installed. The Lifetime warranty is applicable only to shingles and accessories installed on a single-family detached residence owned by individuals.”

So how long do these shingles actually last? GAF’s architectural shingles should last from 20-25 years in Florida when they’re installed by a competent installer. Asphalt shingles are made from layers of fiberglass mat, which are quite strong. Asphalt provides the waterproofing. Ceramic granules on the top layer provide the ultraviolet protection and can keep the temperature down with cool roof technology. Over time the granules tend to wear off, which means that while you can buy a high-quality roof shingle with a lifetime warranty for you, the original purchaser, that roof will not last for 50 years. But it is still a very good value for you.

GAF knows that most homes turn over to new owners in a decade or so, with the result that the “lifetime” warranty becomes moot. It’s a good selling point for their products, which are good products in a competitive marketplace, but they are not 50-year shingles.

Cost for An Asphalt Shingle Roof

Here’s some more information to help you compare costs.

What’s the Cost To Replace My Asphalt-Shingle Roof?

2023 Roof Shingles Cost

Lifespan of A Metal Roof

Will a metal roof last 50 years? Yes, some of them will. And some can last longer than that! A metal roof is a different animal from other types of roof. And there are several different types of metal that have different advantages and disadvantages. The cost range is quite large, and the difference in appearance is huge.

Your Options for A Metal Roof

Starting at the low end of the cost scale, you have top-fastened steel sheets. Also known as exposed-fastener roofing or screw-down roofing, this type of roofing is lightweight, durable, and inexpensive. It’s also often used for garages and agricultural buildings like barns, so some people consider it to be “industrial.” If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association, or HOA, this type of roofing may not be allowed.

The durability or lifespan of this type of roof is quite good. While 50 years would be surprising, 30 years would not be surprising. Steel is a strong and tough material, able to withstand impacts that, arguably, would harm any other material more. The risk with steel, of course, is rust. So if your home is located close to the coast, you will probably see some rust develop over the years.

Another option for steel roofing, considered an upgrade, is standing seam steel roofing. In this method, the roofer bends the panels to form seams that fit together to form a standing seam. The seams both lock the panels together and lock onto the mounting brackets, which are hidden in the seams. The roofer screws the brackets onto the roof decking so you don’t see the fasteners or brackets. It’s a very clean look and it’s a durable method for getting a roof with great longevity. Is it a lifetime roof? It’s close, but if it’s steel, probably not quite in a coastal area, due to the potential for rust at the cut edges.

Lifespan of A Metal Roof vs Asphalt Shingle Roof
Standing seam metal roofing will last for decades.

A standing seam roof made of zinc or copper is a lifetime roof. That’s a 70-year roof, and probably a 100-year roof. Those metals are strong, don’t rust, and are expensive. But if you’re paying for one roofing job plus occasional maintenance in 70-plus years, I’d say that’s cost effective.

In a coastal area like Tampa, aluminum is also a solid choice. Aluminum is not nearly as strong as steel or zinc, but it doesn’t rust. When you add an attractive Kynar paint finish, you end up with a very attractive roof that will last for 30-plus years easily, even with Tampa’s salt air, high winds, and intense UV radiation.

As for costs for different metal roof materials, here’s more information.

How To Get A Lifetime Roof

As with any component on your home, buying top-quality components is just one part of the plan. You also need professional installation. When you hire reputable contractors, you can expect to get that. Lastly, weather conditions can destroy a brand-new 100-year roof. There’s no guarantee that the best material will withstand a Class V hurricane. So we just have to make the best choice possible and then live with what comes.

What’s the Lifespan of a Metal Roof vs An Asphalt Shingle Roof?

A new “lifetime” asphalt shingle roof should last 20-25 years when installed by a professional contractor. An inexpensive metal roof should last a minimum of 30 years, and you have options for metal roofs that will last more than 50 years. If you’d like to talk about replacing your roof with either a metal roof or an asphalt shingle roof, give us a call at 813-373-9088. Our team has more than 40 years of experience in roofing. You can also use this form and tell us, “I want a new metal or asphalt shingle roof” and we will contact you.

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